WASHINGTON — Republicans
who are suddenly demanding that President Joe Biden
about the origins of the pandemic-causing coronavirus
had little interest in such accountability a year ago, when their own party's president was lavishing praise on the Communist regime.
As more experts express openness to the possibility that the outbreak began a year and a half ago with an unintentional release from a virology lab in Wuhan
, top Republicans are seizing the opportunity to slam Biden and officials at the National Institutes of Health, including Dr. Anthony Fauci
, for funding that lab.
“Joe Biden has been rolling over for aggressors all over the world,” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who speculated a year ago that the virus was a bioweapon, told Fox News
Senator Ted Cruz
, who championed the “lab leak” theory a year ago, responded to a Washington Post article explaining why it is gaining traction with a one-word tweet on Tuesday: “Clowns,” followed by four clown-face emoji.
But neither senator had much to say a year ago, when Donald Trump
was in the White House
and taking a completely different approach to China and its ruler, Xi Jinping
“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” Trump wrote on Twitter
on January 24, 2020. “The United States
greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. I especially want to thank President Xi on behalf of the American People
It was not Trump's first or last such compliment; just two days earlier, the first time he spoke publicly about the coronavirus, he told Fox News, "It's all taken care of. And China is working very hard on the problem. We spoke about it, and China is working very hard on it."
“Look, I have a very good relationship with President Xi and they went through a lot. You know some people say other things. They went through a lot. They lost thousands of people. They’ve been through hell,” Trump said to reporters on March 24, 2020, as U.S. cities and states began lockdowns to control the spread of the disease.
Stardia's questions were not answered by Cruz or Cotton's offices on Tuesday.
“Trump himself wanted to go easy on China,” Olivia Troye, a White House aide working on the coronavirus task force at the time, said.
Trump repeatedly blamed Democrats
, mayors, governors, the news media
, and his predecessor Barack Obama
for the pandemic, even as he praised Xi for his efforts to contain it; however, Xi did not contain the disease, and his cover-up efforts hastened its global spread.
7, Trump accused the World Health Organization
of failing to warn the world about the threat, but then explained why he praised Xi for being “transparent” when the Chinese leader had not been.
“Well, I did a trade deal
with China, where China is supposed to spend $250 billion in our country,” Trump explained to reporters, despite the fact that his deal was more of a partial unwinding of the trade war he started than a free-trade agreement.
They were all about going easy on China, just like Trump.
Former White House aide Olivia Troye
Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, later revealed in a book
that in 2019, Trump begged Xi to help him win reelection by agreeing to buy a large amount of farm products from the United States.
By mid-April 2020, with death
tolls rising despite his earlier attempts to dismiss the virus as a "hoax" or no worse than the flu, Trump had abandoned his praise for Xi and began attacking him and China in general, coining terms like "China virus" and "kung flu" to coincide with increased attacks on Asian Americans
According to one former White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, US government agencies were tracking the spread of a pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan as early as late December 2019.
According to the official, this material began appearing in Trump's intelligence briefings in early January 2020, but Trump did not have an intelligence briefing scheduled until Jan. 6, with only nine scheduled for the entire month. "The entire month of January was lost," the official said.
Since taking office on January 20, this year, the Biden administration
has said that the WHO should conduct a thorough investigation
into the “lab leak” theory and has urged China to cooperate.